Click the pics before they mysteriously disappear.
This class "A" is one of the smaller, cheaper ones I've seen here at the show.
I can't believe my luck. While walking around the Fairgrounds just about sunset last night, waaay over by the indoor arena I saw one horse trailer sitting next to it, so I moseyed over to see what was going on and inside the arena was three or four pickup trucks and five or six people working on putting up what I immediately recognized as Hunter Jumper obstacles. I asked them when they were going to ride and they said "tomorrow morning about 9 o'clock". I couldn't believe my luck.
Just about the only horse event I haven't witnessed being here at the Fairgrounds were Hunter Jumpers. I knew those folks participated in their hobby here because I can see the two big outdoor Hunter Jumper arenas from where I'm camped, but since none of the Fairgrounds events are announced anymore on the Fairgrounds website calendar I never know what surprise I'm gonna find on the weekend.
Now Hunter jumpers are not exactly the most interesting horse sport to watch because it's rather slow and sedate totally unlike what horses are doing at a rodeo, but at least there jumping over something which is interesting and not without a certain amount of danger, remember the Superman movie star Chris Reeves broke his neck riding a Hunter Jumper course and was completely paralyzed for the remainder of his life. So any time you're on a horse there's some amount of danger involved.
The riders dress funny with their knee high boots and jodhpurs, and their funny looking saddles which don't even have a saddle horn to hang on to. But still Hunter jumpers have a special place in my heart since I worked at a Hunter Jumper stable as a teenager. And despite having no desire whatsoever to get on the back of a horse, watching other people do it still brings back some faded memories of earlier times.
Now I understand that no one here knows the first thing about Hunter Jumpers, but that's okay, I'm going to explain everything you need to know about this hobby. And by the way, it's actually a sport for the horse and a hobby for the rider. Having worked in this sport for a couple of years I'm well qualified to explain the intricacies of this extremely popular past time and in no time at all you will know as much about this sport as I do.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was a lot of manliness has gone out of the sport, because it appears now the horses are mostly jumping over flower gardens. In my day the horses jumped over barbed wire fences, rivers, and the crushed bodies of their competitors. Looks like things have changed.
When I got there a few people were riding around practicing, and this woman on the ground was yelling at the people riding around on their horses. Apparently she didn't think they were jumping over things right because she yelled a lot. I bet her husband jumps when she tells him to.
When I worked at the Hunter Jumper stable while in high school, along with my primary job as a stall sanitation engineer I often did what this young lady is doing which is replace the bars that the horses knock over. It was a highly technical job which is why I was entrusted with it because the bar had to be placed perfectly level, at just the right height and parallel to the ground. It took me many months of practice to get it right, not to mention the weight training required to build up enough strength to lift the heavy bar. I can't believe the job is now entrusted to a girl..... And I still can't believe the horses jump over some flowerpots.
Looks and demeanor is crucial for a Hunter Jumper and mandatory for a high score. This is perfect positioning for a Hunter Jumper course. Head held high, back straight, properly groomed, all the right gear, tail extended, yup this horse is perfect, nobody cares how the rider looks.
The only thing that's important for the rider is to not fall off, and weigh less than 73 pounds, which is the most weight a horse can jump with. This young lady is only a Snickers bar away from getting down to the required weight.
Your judged on style and performance at a Hunter Jumper contest and the most style points are given for proper facial expression. The only two facial expressions allowed while competing in the arena are boredom and fear, with fear being awarded the highest style points. On rare occasions a facial expression of disdain is allowed if directed towards the audience and not the judges.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how the contest works tomorrow I will explain how they get the horses to jump over things that they don't want to.